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Final US-Russia hot-roll steel suspension accord is signed

Keywords: Tags  traders, steel, Russian steel, steel imports, suspension agreement, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — The United States and Russia signed a revised suspension agreement for hot-rolled steel Friday that pushes the minimum price for Russian material sold into the U.S. market up by some 47 percent.

The deal is an amendment to a long-standing agreement between the two parties. The agreement, which first went into effect in 1999, allows Russia to send steel to the U.S. market as long as it falls below a certain annual volume threshold and above a certain quarterly pricing point. Earlier this year, the U.S. Commerce Department found that while Russia had been in compliance with the agreement, the cost of some raw materials appeared higher than the country’s finished steel price threshold; the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration said the agreement no longer fulfilled its intended purpose of preventing price undercutting (, May 29).

New reference prices for the period spanning Nov. 30 to Dec. 31 will rise some 47 percent, with commercial- and structural-quality steel moving to $601.75 per tonne from $409.01 per tonne in the Oct. 1 to Nov. 29 period; high-strength low-alloy steel to $661.92 per tonne from $449.05 per tonne; and high-grade coil and sheet for pipe and casing to $770.24 per tonne from $522.10 per tonne. Prices generally will be available 30 days before the start of the new quarter.

Some 93.6 tonnes of hot-rolled sheet and 1,053 tonnes of plate in coils arrived at U.S. ports from Russia through Nov. 27, according to license data from Commerce’s Import Administration. This compares with 941.7 tonnes of sheet and zero plate in October.

Traders have said that sales of Russian steel will be difficult in the United States moving forward, given the lack of price spread between domestic and imported material.

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